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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 9, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST

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about the budget. >> does the department of justice believe the president has the authority to violate the nda and transfer terrorists from guantanamo to prisons and can you assure us this will not happen while you are attorney general? the last question i better rephrase. would you be giving advice to the president that he can do it under current law? >> thank you. with respect to the policy put bay, to close guantanamo it has been discussed over several cycles.
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this is an issue of long-standing discussion. support the policy in this. individuals are not able to be transferred from what time obey to a facility on u.s. soil. it is prohibited by the nda. it is our desire es to work with congress to implement any changes that would have to be taken before this action could be taken. this is my understanding of the president's policy. i believe it is certainly his suspension to follow through with that and certainly in the spirit that this committee has worked with me in terms of discussing issues and working to find solutions to issues, i believe that is his plan. senator grassley: so on the latter question, it seems like you intend to continue advising
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the president what the law is and that the law doesn't allow him to do that. suveragesuverage yes. the law prohibits the transfer to u.s. soil and the president would need to work with congress. congress would have to -- ms. sanchez: yes. the law prohibits the transfer to u.s. soil and the president would need to work with congress. congress would have to work with the president before a transfer would be undertaken. senator grassley: how do you and the department reconcile the president's efforts to close gitmo while at the same time the u.s. military has launched a complex initiative in iraq and syria to capture, detain and interview isis leadership and operatives? these are some of the world's most dangerous and savaged terrorists and when they're done interviewing them, then they're simply being released or our authorities ability to keep tabs on them may be in doubt. so the extent to which you are
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involved in explaining to the president what the law and the constitution is, then the does on that i ask -- how your do you recognize department as advisor to the president to close gitmo as they launch these complex initiatives? to sanchez: mr. chairman, close guantanamo bay, it was done by the department of defense who manages those individuals who are there. certainly if we were called upon to provide legal advice as to any changes that might be required in the law, we would work not only with the president but of course with congress as that was considered. with respect to the larger issue that you raised of the current campaign that we are waging against isis in various countries in the middle east but in particular in syria, that effort is also one that
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engages, not just the department of justice but the department of defense, department of commerce because, again, this is a whole administration approach to attack this enemy at various sectors, to attack their economic base of operations, to attack them from a military point of view. and the department of justice would be involved if prosecutions were to occur or if we were to, as we often do, send legal advisors to different countries to advise on rule of law issues. we, of course, do not advise on issues involving actual combat. that is not within our area of expertise. with respect to individuals that may be captured or confined in this activity. everyone will be looked at on an individual basis and will not be the department of justice opining on how the individuals should be handled so i can't give you that comprehentsive overview now. i -- comprehensive overview now. i can assure think is really a
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whole of government approach. those individuals will be looked at and reviewed on an individual basis and we feel we will be able to take the appropriate action against them. senator grassley: to not violate my own admonition of my colleagues, i am going to leave out the introduction of this questions but it involves going dark and encryption. is the department of justice going to court in asking for a back dore into apple i -- back or into apple iphones and if not, does aprille's behavior in the new york and the sbernsbern cases suggest that the -- san bernardino's cases suggest that the administration's trying to engage technology companies is a failure? not, does ms. lunch: mr. senator, we don't -- ms. lynch: mr. new york city, we don't want a back door. san bernardino and the one in new york is for apple to provide assistance to its
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customer. in the san bernardino, it is requested assistance. and in the new york case, to provide assistance that has provided hundreds of times before. we were not asking them to break encryption. we are not asking them to weaken encryption. we are asking them to provide a way to remove a password blocker from the san bernardino phone so the government can try and obtain access to that phone as we feel is our obligation to do. we do not want to retain or possess anything that they may create in order to help us in that. it would remain with apple. with respect to the new york cases, i mentioned we are asking apple to essentially comply with a court order as it has done literally hundreds of times before on those older model phones in which encryption is not the issue at all. senator grassley: senator leahy. senator leahy: thank you. madam attorney general, i read something the other day where an immigration judge at the justice department said that
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3-year-old children can be taught immigration law and represent themselves in court without a lawyer. i assumed at first that was a misprint. and then i thought he actually said it. i have been on this committee for decades. a lawyer for decades. i have never heard such a stupid, stupid, stupid thing from a judge or anybody else as hat. the immigration laws are complex enough, but anyway, to say a 3-year-old child can represent themselves and learn this. now, i understand the statement of the judge was somehow speaking in his personal capacity. i think i would have fired him on the spot. but i know the department pursues immigration issues,
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including toddlers, who don't have lawyers even though d.o.j. has the authority to make sure these children have lawyers. would you agree, does the justice department agree that a 3-year-old child cannot comprehend immigration law? ms. lynch: well, senator leahy, again, i share with you your puzzlement over those statements. senator leahy: it's not puzzlement. it's sheer anger. ms. lynch: as well as the view that i know we think our children are precocious but in no way does the department of justice that children of that age or even frankly children even older can represent themselves individually. i am sure those of you on this committee that are former prosecutors and former judges would find that a surprising occurrence if they showed up in your court as well. and i don't have an explanation for those comments other than they were in a personal capacity and i simply don't understand them enough to explain them to you. so i'm not able to provide any clarity there.
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senator leahy: why don't children have -- there are children going into court without lawyers. why is that happening? ms. lynch: well, we do not take the view that children could represent themselves. currently, there's no -- in the immigration courts, the current law does not require a right to counsel. we do feel immigration proceedings for applicants proceed much more smoothly when there is counsel appointed, particularly for unaccompanied children or children in general. the immigration judges, as they proceed through their matters, have an obligation to actually stop and put matters on hold if the litigant in front of them is not able to comprehend the matter. senator leahy: not so much my question. d.o.j. has the authority to make sure these children have lawyers, and yet children are going before immigration hearings without counsel.
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why not just have a blanket policy that they must have counsel? these go -- you can argue things go smoothly if people don't know their rights but if you got a child in there, why wouldn't they have -- if there's authority to make sure they have children, why not just exercise that authority and say they got to have lawyers? ms. lynch: well, we do certainly support that as a policy matter. we support efforts to provide counsel to not just children but others in immigration court who don't have counsel, through pro bono representation, through nongovernmental groups and we also support congressional efforts to strengthen the policies and laws that would enable us to have a lawyer for every individual. senator leahy: but they do have the right now and you have the right, d.o.j. has the right to ensure they do. why not just say, hey, there won't be a hearing with a child unless they are represented?
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ms. lynch: well, senator, i think you raise an excellent point. we may find ourselves there. i think we're looking to find various ways to support that and we're looking to find various ways to get legal counsel appointed in every situation. senator leahy: i think that's a mark against this country if you have children saying they can learn immigration law. most lawyers around here have a hard time working through the immigration law. -- i think i think for a bad, bad image judge would say something that stupid, that reprehensible to be the face of the united states. now, we talk a lot about opioid. m hoping we can get this opioid bill passed and some money for it.
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i've been inspired -- all the hearings i had around vermont, vermonters who responded to health crisis. they had comprehensive and ommunity-based prevention, treatment, recovery act. law enforcement. community. teachers. everybody. but what are -- what's happening at the federal level to support state and local efforts? and do you see a connection between the growing opioid crisis and illegal firearms trafficking? ms. lynch: thank you, senator. i'm going to start with your last question because i think that -- and then move to the federal policies that we are implementing and expanding to deal with this crisis because as you noted, it is a crisis and it's an epidemic. it affects every state with which we interact, every state in the union. when we look at -- not only
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increase in firearms dealings but increase in violence overall, one of the things we did over the last calendar year was i was -- i directed u.s. attorneys to reach out to state and local counterparts, u.s. attorneys in jurisdictions that's seen an increase in violence in general. not necessarily limited to firearms but violent crime in general to see if we can pinpoint the causes in these relevant injuries -- jurisdictions. drug abuse, particularly heroin, opioid and meth -- methamphetamine abuse were behind upticks in violence as well as violent crime using guns. so there is a connection there as individuals turn to crime to support habits. so we do see that. certainly at the federal level, we're very concerned about this issue. it's an issue that we feel needs to have also a whole of government approach. there is an opioid task force within the administration. the department of justice sits on that task force along with, for example, the veterans affairs, health and human
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services, ondcp, so we can look at all of the things that factor into this particular epidemic and ways in which we can combat it both from a public health issue and a law enforcement issue, because it really is both. from a law enforcement perspective, d.o.j. has a very important role to play. d.e.a. has recently enhanced its abilities by adding over 10 more heroin task forces across the country. but we know that we cannot prosecute our way out of this problem. many of the individuals who are caught in the grip of this epidemic, for example, most new heroin users are those who've previously abused prescription drugs before that. and that is a clear gateway to the recent uptick in heroin that we're seeing. so we have to also look at prescription drug abuse and the public health issues that that raises. that involves doctor education. that involves prescriber education. it involves working with states who are doing tremendous work
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in terms of coming up with systems to record prescriptions so that doctors can check and make sure that a patient is not doctor shopping. so that's an important part of it as well. on our enforcement side, as i mentioned, d.e.a. is expanding our task force groups that focus on heroin. we are working to provide grants and supporting efforts to equip state and local law enforcement officers with a ck zone which is an -- naloxone which is an effective treatment if they come up on a person that is having an overdose. the officers arrive and someone is an extremist, they can use this naloxone and cut down on the risk of death significantly. so our view is this is a public health issue and an enforcement issue. we're using all tools from enforcement to education and focusing on prevention and supporting our efforts, our
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state and logal colleagues' efforts at the local level as well. senator grassley: senator hatch. senator hatch: well, thank you, mr. chairman. general lynch, i appreciate the work you're doing down at the justice department. i'd like to begin with the going dark issue. let me say this about law enforcement, about whether law enforcement should have access to encrypted data on cell phones. i'm not convinced the back door keys or specially designed softwares are the answer. bad actors will exploit any avenue to achieve their goals and this includes encrypted devices and software solid by companies outside the united states -- sold by companies outside the united states. this is more about the precedent that will be established, both here and abroad. what would limit law enforcement the next go-around from asking for additional access? is there a limited principle here? can you understand why this is really such a difficult issue to resolve? ms. lynch: yes, thank you,
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senator. i think you highlighted the difficulties of this. i know you spent a great deal of time studying and writing about as well and i appreciate your efforts in this field and the chance we had to appear before you in other capacities, other d.o.j. witnesses and talk about this. senator, i think it goes back to what you just said in your statement. bad actors will exploit anything to achieve their goal. and they currently are exploiting our technological ability and the way in which we handle communications and data. and so as we -- as we achieve the wonderful advances that american companies have been able to achieve, something i think we should all be proud of, we have to keep in mind that as we have protected privacy, we've also balanced it with a need for security. that is the role of our constitution. it is certainly what i see as one of the most important roles of the department of justice. we protect privacy, but we also have to protect security as well. what we are -- what we feel is
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the appropriate way at this point in time, certainly in the cases before us, is to take a very narrow view of the information that we need and the means in which -- by which we would seek to obtain that information. so that we would not be asking for a major change in -- for example, overall -- an overall operating system but simply a way to enable the f.b.i. to try and get into a particular phone in the san bernardino case. and our view has been, and certainly our discussions with companies that have been informed by the view that every platform is different and presents different issues and that the response to the government should be as narrowly tailored as possible so that the relevant platform can protect its security but still work with government. and i will say, as i hope has been made clear to you and others on the committee is that as the attorney general and certainly as a citizen, i support strong encryption. i think we all have to. we needed to protect our data,
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our personal data, our financial data, our medical data. the issue here is warrant-proof encryption, and just as we have security in so many other areas of our lives and yet still retain the ability to have very, very focused responses to law enforcement, i certainly believe that our technology companies, the greatest companies in the world, have the ability to work with us and achieve that. senator hatch: ok. i understand your position. i'd like to turn now to criminal justice reform and specifically to the issue of mens raea. as you know, criminal intent requirements requires actors being sent to prison for accidentally or unintentionally breaking the law. in order to be guilty of a criminal offense, the person must have acted with a guilty mind. i'd like to read a quote from a 1952 supreme court case. the opinion in that case is by justice jackson, robert jackson, who is one of the all-time great justices, as you know. a contention that an injury can
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amount to a crime only when -- this is his quote. the contention that an injury can amount to a crime only when inflicted by intention is no prevential or transient notion. it is as universal and persistent as belief and freedom of the human will and a consequent ability of the normal individual to choose between good and evil, end quote. general, do you agree with justice jackson that the notion that it requires a guilty mind, that it's not provential or passing notion? i think you can answer that yes or no. ms. lynch: thank you, senator. i think you have given one of jacksonon's most pressing quotes and having to prove that element is an important part of many parts of the case. i do recognize also that this body's -- the congress has seen fit to provide differing levels of intent, and i've worked within those laws as well and
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look forward to working with congress as it considers how to handle this issue of mens raea in conjunction with criminal justice reform. senator hatch: do you agree that mens raea is a feature of our legal tradition? ms. lynch: i do agree it's one of the central features of our legal system and certainly it is one of the defining elements as to how we characterize certain types of activity. senator hatch: do you agree that unless congress provides otherwise a person should not be convicted or sent to prison without proof of criminal intent? ms. lynch: i certainly believe that congress has taken that responsibility very seriously as it is crafted our criminal code and as i've worked within that criminal code, i've taken that responsibility very seriously as well. i think the congress has also recognized the need to have, as i mentioned before, varying levels of intent and varying means to prove them and our courts have interpreted that in ways that have been very useful in protecting very important interests, such as our
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environmental interests and public safety interests and the like. but as i indicated before, i certainly look forward to working with congress to explore this issue. i think it's a very important issue and one in which we can certainly look to refine the ways in which we make sure that as we prosecute offenses that we are clear in the requirements that are set forth, that the defenders have notice of what is in fact prohibited. senator hatch: ok. i'll accept that. on the topic of trade secrets, this committee recently reported the hatch-coons defend trade secrets act by voice vote. the bill is co-sponsored by a majority of the senate. in fact, i think 54 senators. i'm optimistic this legislation can get to the president's desk in the near future. with that said, do you agree with me that a federal right of action will ease the pressures that your department faces in prosecute trade secret cases? ms. lynch: thank you, senator. i think i'm very happy to see the progress of that bill throughout and i know it is
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something that not only impacts prosecutions but also as we look to protect our intellectual property in so many ways, the protection of trade secrets there. we're certainly committed to prosecutions under the current law and look forward to working with you, to advance this bill as well. and look forward to continuing those discussions and think, in fact, it's an important issue. senator hatch: thank you. senator grassley, i need about 30 seconds. senator grassley: senator hatch will make a short statement. senator hatch: really just a closing statement. that is i have one last request for you to take back to the department. it's been nearly two years since the department began working on revisions to the ascap and b.m.i. consent decrees and i'd like to ask you to consider this. will you please confirm what your subject matter experts and circle back with an update on when the revisions are expected and will be completed, i'd appreciate that if you will do that. ms. lynch: i will.
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senator grassley: senator feinstein. senator feinstein: welcome, madam attorney general. it's good to see you again. i want to thank you by thanking you and hopefully you will thank the head of the f.b.i. for the f.b.i.'s strong position on the issue of encryption and a probable cause court order. it is my deep belief that no american company is above the law and that that particular industry should comply. i wanted to ask you a couple of questions. google, microsoft, dropbox and other email and cloud service providers use forms of encryption to protect customer data. their encryption techniques are strong, and that makes them relevantly well-protected against outside attacks. but the reality is that many companies only protect data like your email in ways that they can still use it
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themselves and profit from it. i believe that the amount of personal information in the hands of private corporations and what some of those corporations are doing with that data is concerning. isn't it true that private companies can encrypt data so it is protected from outsiders but at the same time those same companies can use our personal content data to target advertisements? ms. lynch: thank you, senator, for raising this important issue. it certainly is the case that many companies, those you mentioned and others, have strong encryption, which we think is a very positive thing, and yet retain the ability to use the data that is transmitted along their systems, both for security purposes as well as for marketing purposes, and so it is certainly the case, as we have seen in our talks with various companies, that strong encryption can be accompanied
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with the ability to still access the data and use the data in relevant ways. and we think this is something that's part of the overall debate on this important issue. as we all consider, as you also have noted, how much personal information we willingly turn over to private companies and how we want that information handled. certainly as we continue to discuss these issues, i thank you for raising them and making them part of the debate. senator feinstein: well, thank you very much. with my own devices and i'm not the most hip person when it comes to all of this, i've been amazed to learn what i can't control. and my understanding is that it's private information like web brousing history, email content, -- browsing, history, location ent, geo even on encrypted phones. i think it is a concern when companies want to defy a probable cause warrant that
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they can use this data for their own profit-making motives and that's of concern. second question. as you know, there's a relentless and growing isil recruitment efforts through social media platforms. recruitment is repeatedly identified in nearly all of the 80 criminal indictments brought by your department during the past two years regarding isil. i understand that civil injunction authority already exists for the attorney general to obtain orders against those who provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and who unlawfully spy on people. the authority has been used to compel third-party providers to stop their participation in these crimes. has the department made any efforts to use its civil authority under the material support law to combat the use
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of third-party services like financial providers or internet companies by isil? ms. lynch: well, thank you for raising that important issue. certainly as we look at the unfortunate spread of violent extremists' thought and the accompanying activity here in the u.s., much of that recruit, as you note, is online and we do see various platforms being used. we have fuelly had great success -- we have actually had great success in working with the provider companies in these situations in pointing out to the situations where we feel terrorists are using their platforms to communicate. and for many of the tech companies, that violates their own terms of services. and so they have actually been very helpful in this regard in using their own criteria to remove recruiting material, jihadist material, extremist material and the like. again, trying to balance the first amendment concerns there. so that's an area in which we
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actually work well with the tech companies and other companies, and that's been a very productive dialogue for us. when it comes to the financial industry, also, as we look at those who use financial services to provide material support, we've also found that industry cooperative in terms of providing information and being responsive to government request for information. senator feinstein: well, thank you very much. i've been very concerned about some of the material put out by terrorist organizations, which can train pictures of people to kill with their names, where to sit on the plane, to have the best effect from a bomb and also particularly the recipe for a bomb that can go through a magnatometer which is real and when tested it would explode a plane. so i visited with the general counsels of the major tech companies and asked them to
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remove this material and the answer i got was no, we will not. that answer has very much struck in my kragh. we all know that the boston bomber used the recipe from one of those magazine how-to-do it of the pressure cooker and got it from one of these magazines. so the fact of the matter is that this so the fact of the matter is, this doesn't belong in the public domain. that is my very strong view. because the safety of my people depend on it. they just passed me a note, would an injunction help you in some cases? >> we would look at the facts and start discussions with the relevant companies.
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balance those issues with the security issues there. many of them, twitter has been responsive in removing -- >> i found that with twitter. and facebook wants to operate as well. so i think that is helpful. but the others, i got a solid no . >> i think that is an unfortunate response. in my meetings with the same tech companies, have received requests for more guidance that would help them identify and be able to classify that material for removal. the videos in particular are an area of concern, not just for us in law enforcement but for the providers, those who have the communication services. and i think they actually are struggling to differentiate when the bid -- when the video first comes across, something with their terms of service. but as it turns into a news
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story or news reporting, they are struggling with that balance of how to not promulgate this but still provide news and commentary. >> i'm not sure -- i am not talking about the news stories. i am talking about the how to commit a terrorist act. thank you. maybe we can talk about that. >> thank you. i would look forward to that. >> it is good to have you here. on the ongoing litigation with apple and the encryption issue, in the press, it is cast as a question of the fbi versus apple that in fact, the fbi doesn't have authority to go to court and seek a court order to compel apple to produce the information requested, correct? it requires the partner of justice? >> yes. that is what the department of justice is doing.
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>> so the fbi doesn't have authority to go to court on its own? >> no. we do take them with us, however. >> i just want to make sure people understand the respective roles of different agencies within the law enforcement community, the fbi and the doj. what i intended to start with for your comments about gun violence. let me come back to the other issue any moment. do you believe that mental illness plays a role in some of the incidents of mass gun violence that we have experienced in america in the last few years? >> certainly i think where it has been due to gated or a funding has been made, otherwise it would be speculation. but i will say that mental on this is the issue that i find is cutting across so many law enforcement issues today. both from how we police to how we look at violent crime, to how
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we manage our prisons. certainly, as it relates to how we manage firearms in this country. essentially, making sure that we continue to have the right to have responsible firearm owners and yet, balancing that against those who are not allowed by law to have firearms, because of an adjudication or a mental illness of some type. >> i couldn't agree more with you. i know that the adjudication issue was a -- in the virginia tech shooting, the state of virginia had adjudicated him as mentally ill but the state of for jenna had not uploaded that adjudication on the background check system. so it was missed. and i couldn't agree with you more about the intersection of health in law enforcement. a major county sheriff's meeting yesterday and i had a gentleman who introduced himself as the largest mental health provider in america and
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he was a sheriff. many people who are homeless, living on our streets, who don't have recourse to adequate treatment and even families who need additional resources to help their loved ones comply with regards of taking medication -- i would like you to take a look at some legislation i've introduced. it includes a lot of the components that you have talk about. perhaps that is something we could work on together. i would welcome your input and advice on that. >> i look forward to reviewing that. thank you. >> let me get back into the role of the fbi and the department of justice. i want to talk about secretary clinton's use of a private server. we have read that the fbi is conducting an investigation of that secretary
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clinton had previously deleted about 30,000 e-mails that she did not send to the state department. she did send another 30,000 to the state department and now courts are going through the process of determining which of these are producible under the freedom of information act. but recently, the department offered immunity to the to setan who reports and up this private e-mail account. it is true that immunity can't be granted by the fbi a loan? it requires the apartment of justice to a proof of that grant of immunity, to go to court and allow the court to grant immunity as part of the investigation? >> there are various types of immunity. there is limited use or some that are conferred just for an agreement between a lawyer and
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the defense counsel. some that are conferred by the court so certainly, regardless of the various types, that is something that is done in conjunction of an agent with conjunction of the defense counsel. >> in this case, did the department of justice approved the immunity to him? >> with respect to that case, we don't discuss the specifics of any ongoing investigation. >> i'm not asking about the specifics, i am asking about the procedure. >> with the procedure, i'm not able to comment on interactions between a witness and the department. >> just as you said earlier, the fbi can't go to court without the department of justice approval and you said, we go together. if, in fact, this was immunity granted by a court, it had to be done with the approval of the department of justice, correct?
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>> it would depend on the type of immunity that is granted. there are various types. sometimes it is between an attorney or -- >> you already said that. so, let me give you a hypothetical. if the fbi were to make a referral to the department of justice to pursue a case by way of indictment and to convene a the department of justice is not required by law to do so, are they? >> it would not be in operation of law, it would be in operation of our procedures. it would also be consulting that the agents on all relevant factors of the investigation and coming to a conclusion. >> but he would have to make a decision or somebody else within
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the department of justice? >> it is done in conjunction with the agents. you do not want to cut them out of the process. it has not been an effective way of prosecuting. >> i'm not digesting that you would prosecute. i'm just saying, you would do that together? >> we handle matters together of all types. >> if the fbi makes a referral to the department of justice to pursue criminal charges against anyone who may have been involved in this affair, does the ultimate decision to proceed to court to ask for the convening of a grand journey and to seek an indictment, does that rest with you or someone who works for you at the department of justice? >> with respect to anyone who has been identified as a potential witness in any case, i'm not able to comment on the specifics of that matter. i'm not able to provide you -- >> i'm asking about what the
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standard operating procedure is. it seems pretty straightforward. the fbi does a criminal investigation but refers the charges to the department of justice, including u.s. attorneys, perhaps more celebrated cases go higher up the food chain. my simple question is, does it stop with you, in terms of whether to proceed to seek an indictment, to convene a grand journey and to prosecute a case that is referred to you by the fbi? >> there are many levels of review at various stages. i would not necessarily be involved in every decision. >> right, it will be you or somebody who works for you? >> everybody works for me in the department of justice including the fbi. [laughter] >> thank you for being here, it is nice to see new yorkers before this committee.
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brooklyn is extremely proud of you and the great work that you are doing and speaking for myself, you would have made a great supreme court justice. i regret to put your name out but so be it. i want to talk a little bit about appointments to the supreme court but it is instructive to discuss the broader issue of confirmation with this committee under the standing maturity. as we all know, someone who went through a long and arduous and sometimes acrimonious confirmation process to a post for which he was eminently qualified. the acrimony wasn't about the character or the record, it was entirely about politics. and it resulted in nearly a six-month delay between nomination and confirmation, as well as the only closure vote required for a attorney general in the united states history. but you are far from being the only one to suffer a delay.
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many others suffer total disregard. we have talked about the majority's refusal, sight unseen, to hold hearings on a supreme court nominee. but there is a whole slew of lower court nominees and executive branch appointments, and that is the majority led confirmation process. or i should say, lack thereof. republicans have confirmed the fewest civilian nominations of any senate in decades. these are important posts. the treasury department, commissioners for the fcc and the bank and this senate has confirmed far fewer judges than any recent comparable session. it is not just with the supreme court that the republican majority is not doing their job. it is on appointments up and down the line. it's no surprise then, that the
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number of judicial emergencies have tripled since republicans gained the majority in 2015. we are going to try to get votes on a few judges who have the support of their home state republican senators this afternoon. i hope our republican colleagues won't play politics with them. the bottom lin[@!6 c1 republican senate doesn't do its job confirming nominees, whether it is for executive or judicial branches and other branches of government, they can't do their jobs. you want to focus on the supreme court and ask you a few quick questions. your department represents the u.s. government in every court case in which it has an interest. criminal and civil. that is a lot of cases? many times larger than the biggest law firm? >> i view us as the largest law firm in the world. >> and don't you rely on the federal courts to be the arbiters of significant legal disputes? >> they certainly are important
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in the process. >> in fact, the united states is filed as an interest in many cases in the supreme court last year. >> we did indeed. >> so it matters to the executive branch in terms of function. >> it certainly matters. >> and what happens when the court deadlocks and can't resolve issues because of a tie question mark we had it in the past when certain judges have recused themselves. >> my opinion is that the lower court decision would stand. >> that canted, in the justice department and in the private sector, sort of paralyzed things? put them on hold? companies may wait for a decision, or your date -- your agency may not be able to move forward on other cases if there is deadlock within the various districts? is that fair? loretta lynch: one thing that everyone would have to evaluate is whether this allows them to
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proceed or whether they have would have to wait. >> and there are times when they can't? loretta lynch: from a law-enforcement perspective, we will proceed and protect the american people to the best of our ability, regardless of the circumstances. >> right, but sometimes it will be easier if you had a decision? loretta lynch: i think people want clarity on those important issues. >> this is an exhibition case, a heartbreaking criminal case and i want to ask your help in bringing the perpetrators to justice. on march 14, 2009, -- was brutally killed after exiting a shop at the end of a business day. his murder, witnesses in writing beach, part of my old assembly district 30 years ago -- and his murder or stolen a payroll back that contained $32,000 and beat him to death and left behind a widow, four beautiful children,
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the youngest of whom was an infant. unfortunately, the suspect fled the country before anything could be prosecuted, one was arrested in australia two years ago. the nypd and the brooklyn da's office have been diligently working to get him extradited to the u.s. so he could be tried for murder. and the family can receive justice. but because we have an extradition treaty with australia, it is and within our authority to bring the killer back to the u.s.. but they have been waiting for seven years. will you try to help look into this and maybe speed up this extradition so they don't have to wait any longer? loretta lynch: i am aware of the case and aware that they have been pursuing this extradition matter for approximately two years and i look forward to being in consultation with mass trailing counterpart soon on the matter to ascertain more as to what might be the issue here. >> we need real help. they have a waiting for justice. i don't know what's holding it up. whatever you can do to get
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justice for them would be appreciated. the last issue for me is squatting. we have a school district in middletown in the hudson valley. someone is angry at something at this school and they have been plagued by attacks. a caller calls up, makes repeated threats against the school, the schools evacuated. sometimes the kids had stay there until after 3:00 in the law-enforcement authorities can make sure it is safe. they're disrupting parents and their lives, the kids are scared, some kids are being kept out of school and it has been repeated times. 13 instances of swatting just at this middletown school district, half of them to the maple hill and -- maple hill elementary school loan. you can imagine the fear that the parents and kids have. we have a problem because the caller is hiding behind spoofed numbers. i've spoken to the local fbi, the offices in newburgh, the
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offices in manhattan and they are helping us but i understand this is a national problem. so first, i would just ask you to make sure that the resources are there to help find the perpetrator of the school. and second, what more can we be doing to deal with these swatting incidents, which i think are nationwide. loretta lynch: senator, this is a nationwide issue. and we do not view these as pranks or childish calls. they are serious and they divert scarce law-enforcement resources to incidents that are not in fact accurate. as you noted, they terrify children and parents. and they cause long-term issues to the school districts that are dealing with these. we take this seriously and when we find these perpetrators we intend to prosecute them. ;and certainly, whatever is beig proposed here, either by the
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committee or congress, we are happy to work with you on any legislation that would aid us in those efforts. we do take these efforts seriously. it is outside of new york state, also. >> would you make sure that every resource being used to find the perpetrator? loretta lynch: yes, it is. thank you for raising this. >> just a small rebuttal to a small part of what you said about the court. that is in regard to the reference, you didn't go into detail about emergency judicial vacancies -- there are 31. we have 12 up. wet so the public knows, can't deal with the other 19 until the white house gets them appear. >> thank you. loretta lynch: good morning. >> i am very concerned about continuing sanctuary city policies in many jurisdictions
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around the u.s. -- we have talked about this before. and defenders of those policies say they do not want to dissuade from reporting crime. however, a lot of these policies apply to not reporting illegals who are arrested. or convicted of criminal offenses. other words, they are on the criminal and of the events as we saw in the murder in san francisco. do you think it should be this the jurisdiction to prohibit its police force from reporting illegal status of somebody who is arrested or convicted of a crime loretta lynch: you have raised an
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important issue. with a federal, policy for removal, of dangerous aliens, particularly those who are coming out of federal custody. and your reference again to the tragic murder in san francisco, is one that is highlighted. certainly with regards to local policies, they vary across the country. we are in litigation in two particular matters where we are sending the department of homeland security and their requests to have jurisdiction to -- rt to them when >> i don't want to cut you off but my time is limited. do you agree or disagree with policies that prohibit reporting illegal status of somebody who is a listed -- who is arrested
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or convicted of a crime? loretta lynch: with current law and how jurisdictions are handling the matter, it is a local matter. and what we have done as a policy -- >> a local matter -- loretta lynch: we have a new policy with how we deal with cities who have refused to turn officials over for us for deportation area -- deportation. >> there is a federal law on the matter. it says no government entity, including state or local or official may prohibit or restrict any government entity or official from sending or receiving from the immigration and naturalization service information with regards to the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful of any individual. it is a federal matter, isn't that correct? loretta lynch: yes, and we are defending deposition in court now. >> so based on that, you
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disagree with policies that prevent reporting to federal authorities illegal status of arrestees or convicted criminals ? is that fair to say? loretta lynch: if those policies impact the particular statute that you mentioned, our view would be that it would fall under the laws that we are currently defending, that is that jurisdiction should report. our issues is when jurisdiction does not report for removal. the information we would need to effectuate the removal of those defendants. >> louisiana, new orleans has just announced an expanded sanctuary city policy. they had some elements of sanctuary city and they have analized an announcement for expanded policy which would include absolutely prohibiting the police department from reporting to any federal authority, illegal status of
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someone. put to the side victims and witnesses. someone who has been arrested and convicted of a crime. now, and no pd, through its thatsman, said publicly was veryce department involved in discussions leading to this policy and approved -- do you know if that is correct? loretta lynch: the policy in question was one that the new orleans police department felt that they needed to effectively police new orleans. my understanding does not prohibit them from providing information to the federal authorities, we need that information as part of our responsibility. so essentially, that is my understanding.
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>> did the justice department approves that policy? loretta lynch: i have given you my understanding of the situation so i would refer you to the decree with new orleans so you can see what was specifically approved there or not. my understanding is that new orleans does provide information to us for removal. so that we can fulfill our responsibility. >> this policy specifically prohibits the new orleans police department from reporting illegal status, including folks arrested and convicted of a crime. this policy specifically prohibits them from telling ice when it is releasing from his local prison. somebody who is an illegal status. specifically prohibits that. ,o that is very troublesome
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particularly given the statement that the justice department approved this policy. loretta lynch: that's not my understanding of the terms of the policy. they would be allowed to provide information as required under the statute that you quoted earlier to authorities so that we could effectuate our removal responsible it those individuals. that is consistent. >> have u.s. them to do this on regular basis, to provide information for anyone who is in the legal status and any person being released from jail who is illegal? loretta lynch: i'm not aware of prohibitions to that. as i indicated before, that would be consistent with the policy that we have recently announced regarding cities to have a practice of not providing that information, of where we have individuals in custody, who ordinarily would have been released to a state detainer to answer to state charges, which we do take seriously in situations where those
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jurisdictions have indicated they would not return the person to us at the end of the state proceeding or would not provide us information, and in fact, we -- >> one last statement. , it isread the policy laid out in black and white. that is absolutely wrong. or nop d shall not engage in assist or support immigration enforcement, except as follows, in response to energy chelated direct threat to life and public safety or when such services are required to serve a criminal warrant as issued by a federal judge. that means that routinely, as i am describing, they will not anl ice when they have arrestee or convicted criminal who is an illegal status. they will not tell ice when they are releasing that person from
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local jail. [indiscernible] >> if the attorney general wishes, she should have a chance to respond if she wishes. >> thank you. as i indicated before, they have indicated that they will provide us with information. the issues that he raised about a quarter order and a threat to public safety to implicate ice concerns and would allow us to undertake our ice response abilities to remove those individuals. >> thank you. madam attorney general, the similarities between the mischief of the tobacco industry, pretending that the science of tobacco dangers was unsettled and the fossil fuel industry, pretending that the science of carbon emission dangers is unsettled has been remarked on widely. particularly by those who study the climate denial apparatus
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that the fossil fuel industry has erected. under president clinton, the department of justice brought in a civil rico action against the tobacco industry for its fraud under president obama, the department of justice has done nothing so far about the climate denial scheme. a request for action iv department of justice has been referred by you to the fbi. my question to you is, other than matters attending to a criminal case, are there other circumstances in which a civil matter, under the authority of the department of justice, has been referred to the fbi? loretta lynch: thank you for raising that issue and thank you for your work in this area. i know your commitment is deep. this issue has been discussed and we have received information about it and have referred this to the fbi, to discuss whether
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it meets the criteria for something we can take action on. i'm not aware of a civil referral at this time. i will look at that and get back to you. >> are there any civil cases with the united states as a plaintiff within the doj civil division in which the fbi is preparing the case for the civil division? loretta lynch: regarding climate change? >> regarding any matter? loretta lynch: i couldn't give you that information right now. >> we will take that as a question for the record. -- authorizes the attorney general to use investigative demand prior to the institution of a rico position. fbi, do you authorize them -- loretta lynch: i would not be able to give you the specifics on that at this time. >> a question for the record,
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.hen peere the you designated anyone custodian in the rico statute? loretta lynch: i would not be able to provide that information. specificect to the fbi steps relating to a referral to them, we would not be able to give you an outline of what has been undertaken at this time. >> whether or not they were up use the attorney general authority -- loretta lynch: they always have that authority. i just want to make sure they had that authority. loretta lynch: as a general matter. --ther or not it >> the campaign-finance environment in america is now as
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lawless as though wild west. the federal election commission has been blockaded by commissioners to the point where it is now this functional. -- dysfunctional. the irs has been intimidated to is point where it dysfunctional in the campaign-finance area. area were those agencies and still operate is in requiring that federal forms be filed and filled in under oath. that is a reporting requirement. when you look at these forms, they show that over and over again, the same organization will give one answer under oath on one form and a different answer also under oath on another form. false statements made under oath are prosecuted by the department of justice
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under 18 usc section one? loretta lynch: that would cover false statements under oath. cases are thehese bread and butter of the department of justice? loretta lynch: not sure that is the characterization i would use. there is a tool we use in a number of different types of investigations. >> without the need for agency referral -- loretta lynch: we use them in thetly with lawyers field. >> can you tell us whether the department has taken any steps theny kind to inquire into inconsistent statements made by organizations under oath to the irs and to the federal election theission and in some cases state election commission's ens?
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loretta lynch: i do not have that information for you. veryke all allegations seriously. the concern i have from previous conversations we've had has taken theent position that unless the irs makes a referral to it, it will openlye notice of the plane notorious and evident conflicts between public statements made under oath on federal applications and forms. and that seems to me to be hard to understand given the very simple nature of an 18 usc 1001
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execution. that prosecution. this is not a matter that requires one to delve into the arcana of tax law if a statement is false, it is false. if two statements are irreconcilable, there is a reasonable likelihood that one is false. if there is nation, fine -- if there is an explanation, fine, but i would think the department would want to find that explanation rather than simply allow this lawless atmosphere to continue. my time has expired. >> a court order requiring apple ii engineer software that does not currently exist to enable the government to bypass security mechanisms built into
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an iphone. rook,ously used by syed fa one of the san bernardino terrorists. there were several phones that were used by the two san bernardino terrorists. on the other phones were destroyed, all of them were crushed and were inaccessible because they did not physically exist anymore. this particular phone was a work phone and some have speculated that perhaps that is why it was not destroyed. perhaps it was being used for work purposes. is therticular phone subject of this effort by the resultedt of justice in this effort by the department tojustice to require apple engineer software that does not currently exist. provides thatact the supreme court may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in the aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to
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the usages and principles of law. it is not open ended. it does not require -- allow the court to demand anything and everything. it has to be agreeable to the usages and pitfalls of law. is it your position that the all writs act permits courts to compel private parties to engineer software to assist law enforcement? loretta lynch: as has been laid out in the relevant case come it is our position that the all writs act as interpreted by a variety of quartz -- courts does third parties to provide assistance to the government when they are capable of doing so to execute lawful court orders. the assistance will vary from case to case and will determine essentially how the third-party person is able to provide the assistance come under what means and measures.
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the all writs act provides the legal authority for the court to argue the third party to provide assistance. the type of assistance will vary by case to case. >> what limiting principles enlist the work effort of a tech company to create something that does not yet exist? what limiting principle is there? what limiting principle is there in place that would not also allow the government to use the all writs act or some or other mechanism to require apple to , perhapser software software that would unlock a phone's camera, unlock a phone's microphone, unlock a phone's location services system to assist the government there? he doesn't have software that would do that.
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what limiting pistol would stop the government from using the all writs act to compel that kind of work? loretta lynch: you have to look at the type of assistance that was needed. in the relevant case here in san bernardino, the government is not asking apple to unlock the phone but disable a password blocker that would destroy the evidence. they would have to engineer something that does not currently exist. loretta lynch: that is not apple unlocking the phone or going into the phone and extracting it or apple taking certain steps. will be developed by the relevant fact.
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we try to have a very narrow, very focused inquiry into potential evidence on one device. >> the supreme court has stated in pennsylvania bureau of correction versus u.s. marshal writs actat the all is residual source of authority to issue writs that are not otherwise covered by a statute that addresses the particular issue at hand. law that deals with issues in this area. assistancecations for law enforcement act. it does not authorize any law enforcement agency to require any specific design or equipment , features or system configurations to be adapted by any manufacturer of tele communications equipment.
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a telecommunications carrier shall not be responsible for decrypting or insuring the government's ability to decrypt any information encrypted by a subscriber or customer unless the incursion was provided by the carrier and the carrier possesses the information necessary to decrypt the communication. does that apply here? loretta lynch: the relevant laws -- i will refer you to those briefs rather than have such a limited discussion about one law here. nonetheless.rtant the department of justice has taken the position in those briefs that that law does not apply. that seems odd to me. ofle is a manufacturer telecommunications equipment. apple is being asked to be responsible for decrypting or ensuring the government
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possibility to decrypt -- government's ability to decrypt an item that apple manufactures. we've got a situation here in this administration was calling on congress for a long time to require by statute that apple and other manufacturers provide a backdoor key that could be used by law enforcement. that effort failed, but that changes -- because that effort , there was none enthusiasm in congress because there were the judgment public policy concerns a expressed. thomas declined to adopt such legislation. -- congress declined to adopt such legislation. they decide not to pursue this
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remedy in congress and tries to get through the all writs act this 1789 statute that was certain to not apply in circumstances like this where the area has been addressed by statute. this is a policy decision, not a judicial decision. it should be handled by congress, not the federal courts thank you, mr. chairman. you forlynch: thank raising these important issues and for your thoughts on them. i agree this is a matter for important public debate and discussion by this body, hopefully this committee -- i know many people here have given great thought to it. we have a law enforcement proceed.n to we have never asked for a backdoor. we want companies to do what they've been doing for years, provide assistance when they can
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and how they can and how they can will be determined and should be determined by the courts in every specific case whether the valid law enforcement interest to do so. we did not wait for congress to stop considering it an issue to bring this court action. what happened wasn't it someone killed 14 people in san bernardino. the customer asked for assistance to obtain information from a device, the same way if we needed to get into that person's desk or locker. we went to the owner of it. if they had to go to the manufacturer to gain access to help us gain access to a locked device in a way that would not destroy what was inside, that is the situation here. i simply place that before you as part of the consideration of this important issue. those are important issues and they do require for discussions as to how we handle these issues and how we continue the constitutional balance and we've always done in this country
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between the essential right to me toy, which i am asking to protect as anyone here in the safety and security and rights of every american. which is my sworn duty. >> thank you for being here today. during the course of this presidential campaign, there have been statements made by candidates which happen hateful toward american muslims. one candidate referred to syrian refugees as rabid dogs. donald trump said we should ban all muslim immigrants from the united states. we held the first hearing ever on anti-muslim rhetoric and hate subcommittee on constitution several years ago. i would like your comments on the monitoring of hate crimes and crimes against people of the muslim faith and your observations when it comes to law enforcement and the need for cooperation from american muslims to keep america safe. loretta lynch: thank you, senator.
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the hearing that was held on a full and open airing of the concerns about rhetoric that we are hearing that is hateful toward muslims or people of any religion or any perceived difference. habit and robust pattern of free speech in this country. even hateful speech is protected. concern is when the speech crosses the line into incitement of violence. and when violence occurs as a result of that. astake it very seriously something that could be a precursor to violence. protecting that balance of free speech but looking for those situations where people to cross that line and they are inciting others to commit violent acts, we saw that happen after 9/11, unfortunately. we saw several acts of violence against those who were muslim or perceived to be muslim, wrongly
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so, that resulted in death or serious harm. we know it can happen and is not indicative of the values of our country. we have found it to be effective to engage with the muslim community before there are flashpoint incidents. thats been my experience the muslim community is like any other community in this great country of ours. they have people on both sides of the law but also have the same concerns that we all do. their children are concerned about being bullied in school, they are concerned about perceived discrimination or real dissemination. providing information to the muslim community about those issues can ease their fears and concerns and we find it to be helpful in obtaining and building rapport that can help us as we build law enforcement investigations. >> senator hatch asked earlier -- leslie caldwell
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testified before this committee in opposition to senator hatch's legislation at a recent hearing. i would like to ask you to be more forthcoming, if you would, perhaps more specific. it is my understanding that there are certain crimes where we have said there is a strict liability standard, food of alteration is ace candidate that standard for that. crimes involving child pornography, sex trafficking, i used an example in the hearing where we have a crime on the books which says if you were engaged in terrorist activity and killed an american, you would be held responsible. i used the example of the terrorists in mumbai and the
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fact that they could not have known on their own that there were american tourists who were killed at the hotel. under our law, they can be held responsible. issueexpound more on this and where you think the line should be drawn? forwardlynch: we look to working with you and other members of the committee as we explore how this will interact with the sentencing reform efforts. as a society and as a statutory body, congress has decided there are crimes for which a strong liability is important to ensure the safety of our food and drugs and to ensure the protection of those who serve us. murder of aand federal agent, terrorist activity that results in the death of americans abroad, activities that we have deemed to be of such a nature that they should incur criminal liability
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when they occur and to be proven. that is a strict liability because of the nature of those crimes. there are other things we would have to prove in order to find someone guilty there. we would have to establish that they were responsible for those actions, they took those actions for a particular purpose. the absence of the specific that there were american tourists in a particular place would still not alleviate the government of his response abilities to fully and fairly and adequately prove that crime in a court of law. they would be held accountable for the serious crime. the fact that they did not know that americans were involved would be used appropriately, in my view, something for which they could be found liable for and sentenced for. presidentcember, the
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commuted a sentence for alton mills. ,e never served one day in jail was found guilty of a third drugs inr the sale of the city of chicago. and was given a life sentence. he served to 22 years before the president commuted his sentence. i've met him and work with him. it was a sentence that was excessive and way beyond what should have been imposed. there are now 20,000 clemency petitions that are pending before your department. it doesn't appear you have the capacity to deal with them in a timely way. tell me i'm wrong. >loretta lynch: the number of petitions come i'm not sure it is quite that high. we are working to put in place practices to work through the backlog. we've committed the resources we
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and we are committed to working through the process. it is part of a larger system of criminal justice reform, part of the many ways in which we are trained to deal with the issues that result from prior decisions that were taken with a good intent of protecting people but have these collateral consequences. thank you, master chair. welcome. i admire your poise and i appreciate the work you do. oficle one section nine clause eight of the united states constitution prohibits officials from excepting money from foreign governments while in office. according to secretary clinton's public financial findings, she
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and former president clinton appeared to have received payments from speeches directed from foreign government or industry mentality of foreign -- instrumentality of foreign government. has the justice department analyzed whether the income from foreign sources may have violated the constitution? loretta lynch: you certainly raise an interesting issue. the matter that has been under discussion in this and other proceedings has been the department must review of how the state department handle classified information. review.tment's be possible to have the department look into it and report back to this committee? loretta lynch: i'm not sure that i can promise you a report at this time. i don't know the timing of the issues you mentioned or the amounts that you mentioned or the relevant roles.
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that's relevant rules. >> one final question. it sounds like the justice department did not play a role in advising the state department about ethical questions that may be raised from the former president speaking engagements. and the ethical questions based on the joint filings with sector clinton. -- secretary clinton. i'm not sure the timing of when that would have occurred. i do not believe we would have consulted with the state department. you may want to raise that with the state department. >> we will and we will include that an follow-up questions. during her confirmation hearing, i asked a question about the inspector general's report about
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december of 2014. filed --he report was at the time, you did not have an opportunity to go through the inspector general's report. have you had an opportunity to look at that and has the inspector general's report been --tructed loretta lynch: i have not read that report specifically. i am aware of the changes the department has made and was making throughout most of 2015 to ensure the disciplinary procedures were streamlined and efficient and were consistent, including more resources to the office of professional this possibility. -- response ability. for -- benefits program
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in your confirmation hearing oft year, i raised the issue whether or not we can place a priority on the claims backlog. it looks like we have not made much progress. about the length of time to process the claims. october of last year, there were officer0 public safety benefit claims outstanding. carolina, i've got 20 or so active claims outstanding. do you think the backlog is appropriate in the length of time to close the claims? what efforts are you making to close the claims? the public safety
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officers benefit program is one that is managed through the department's office of justice program. they've been working on that backlog. nature the issue is the of the information they receive and the questions they may sometimes have to raise about it. they are looking to set in place their own system of streamlining that and making sure they're requesting only what they need and acting as quickly as possible. i know they are speaking with jurisdictions on an individual basis about this claims -- those claims to give them status reports and updates on that. aware ofething we are and have frequent conversations with our law enforcement partners. it is a matter of great importance to families involved in these tragedies and every claim you are referring to in your home state or otherwise, there is a tragedy underlying that. we take that responsibility seriously.
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>> we will be tracking the claims with a north carolina. the broader question will follow up with any measures and the other things necessary to draw down the backlog. prolonging the closure on a tragedy that these families are dealing with. it is very important. i have a final question. i appreciate your comments about sentencing and kernel justice reform. in north carolina, we did some of the adjustments which have been tremendously successful in reducing recidivism. it seems the concerns with some of our members relate to the retroactive application for certain classes of crimes. concerns?re any
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i'm just curious. loretta lynch: a very important issue and one i really appreciate the efforts of everyone on this committee in working with us on. with respect to -- potential changes regarding armed criminals. we've been working at the staff level to have discussions about those and how we can essentially make sure that we move forward withreform and still deal the serious issues raised by those particular types of defendants. from the department's point of view, when it comes to release of any kind, we do feel there should be a presentation to the relevant judge so a decision could be made. we certainly look forward to talking with you further on them. i commend north carolina on its used of the justice reinvestment act because through that, over
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the last several years, crime is down 11% in the state, for which we are all extremely grateful. thank you very much, mr. chairman and thank you, attorney general, for being here. i want to start by thanking you for your focus on sex trafficking and the implementation of the justice for victims of trafficking act that senator cornyn and i have worked so hard on. you've had some good results in some of those cities that have anti-traffic teams. you have been 86% increase in convictions in those districts compared to 14% in non-acting district. i wonder if you can comment on that and what is happening with a piece of our bill to combat human trafficking.
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loretta lynch: thank you for raising an issue that is of great importance and one of my own priorities as attorney general. we've had tremendous success along the lines that you've noted in raising the conviction rate and the ability to open cases in those cities that participate in the act team. bringing six more cities and district on board and we hope for similar results there as well. it has been the tip of our spirit, so to speak in our bickered center approach -- victim centered approach. we provide real support for the victims of trafficking at the end of those cases because, of course, their trauma does not end with just a conviction. i thank you again for your work along with senator cornyn on the and on this important
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issue. our national strategy is in progress. as part of that national strategy, the team has been enhancing the federal collaboration between doj and the department of labor and apartment of home and security. we've been strengthening our collaboration with our state and local colleagues and just last fall, i announced in their $44 million in grants to improve and enhance those local efforts. $35 million of that will go towards organizations that were focused correctly on survivors, recovering them and providing them real assistance at the end of the case. these collaborations are going towards training local law enforcement officers in the very important area of recognizing human trafficking victims when they see them. this has been one of the concerns they have expressed to us. they know they have a problem in their jurisdiction, they want to work with federal authorities, but they are concerned about the ways in which to gain inroads
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into the victim community in supporting the ngos who are often the first people these survivors turn to. >> thank you for your work. we look forward to continuing that record we've had a number of cases out of the twin cities with islamic extremism, recruiting for extremists come on number of convictions. this countering violent extremism task force was very important. had threeanken and i areas featured, including the twin cities. can you tell me what doj has been doing as we are continuing to try to get more money in the budget for this effort? loretta lynch: very happy that the twin cities are one of the pilot cities in our program for combating violent extremism,
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focusing on those communities, listening to them and what they need. we have a strong enforcement piece when it comes to combating violent extremism, particularly homegrown extremists we see here in the country. most recently, we've seen individuals seeking to leave the u.s. to travel overseas. we've prosecuted more than 85 of those individuals so far. of great concern is the fact that over the years, their ages dropping. -- age is dropping. the median age is around 21 or less. we are seeing more and more young women being involved in this. >> i do appreciate the law enforcement piece of this. the concept was to intervene early when schools and others are seeing signs of this and i believe we have more private money than federal money. we are pushing to get the additional funds. loretta lynch: that would be
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very helpful. the twin cities will be a good example of that. when thing we are doing is working with silicon valley and the tech industry to help us to provide assistance from the nongovernmental side to combat violent extremism. the government is not necessarily going to be the best messenger for that. we will not be the voice that young people on the edge are going to listen to first. >> i would agree and am glad we are doing that. we want to use this model where we are trying to identify kids early and then coordinate the community to circle around them. we probably need funding to get some of this going. my last question is about the cops program. senator murkowski and i reading this effort for the -- could youon of
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talk about the grants and how an increase in funding would be awful? -- would be helpful? hadtta lynch: we recently grants for local law enforcement to deal with the heroine issues. that program essentially, for financial reasons, has been .hifted it now resides within dea. dea will have six additional heroine based task forces to deal with this issue. in local lawo pull enforcement officers, we understand that the prior cops program was a great source of support for local law enforcement as they had this very targeted efforts that were very effective as well. we greatly appreciate your >> we have a good team.
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on the opioid bill, we know how important it is and we look forward to continuing to work with the justice department. loretta lynch: thank you for your efforts in that regard. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you attorney general loretta lynch. thank you for your courtesies and your even-tempered under shepherd there are a number of questions that are important that i would like to raise. -- we shouldred have a moratorium on immigration from muslim immigration until we
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figure out what is happening. not a permanent ban. that critically important the american people and everybody know that when a person is in our country, they are entitled to have their religion respected. the constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and that must be honored. greenockander philip testified that terrorists are infiltrating refugee flows into europe and isis is "spreading like cancer within this m ix." russia's actions in syria have widely exacerbated the problem. this is not a little matter. i know that you know that. i will not go into the details about it.
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with regard to the drug situation happening today and the increase in heroine and the deaths we are seeing, do you believe law enforcement is a quick call role in reducing the abuse of drugs, abusing the availability of heroine? loretta lynch: thank you. this epidemic is of great concern to us. law enforcement has an important role to play, particularly in the interdiction of heroin trafficking. the apprehension of those bringing heroin both into the country and spreading it -- >> i would agree with that. the interdiction is a key thing for the federal official. that is not all. there are major drug dealing networks in every major city and throughout this country. attacked by be federal officers. the interdiction is first.
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i would suggest a more secure border is essential. isn't it true that the majority of the cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines we are seeing in america now are coming from mexico? loretta lynch: with respect to methamphetamine, a lot of that is made here. >> isn't in the majority coming from mexico? what about heroine? loretta lynch: mexican border is a major shipment point for heroine and cocaine. >> the majority. i was prosecuting, we had airplanes and boats and things of that nature. the trend has changed and we seen a movement from across the mexican border, have we not? loretta lynch: it has grown to rival other areas. we taken out attention away from the ports, the ships and the boats and the border also. >> the clearly is a majority.
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the center for disease control noted that over 47,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2014 and it is still rising. that is one drug overdose death every 12 minutes. opioids.ved opioid overdoses have tripled since 2000. 6000% increase in heroine overdose deaths since 2001. a national survey of drug use and health under this administration's leadership produced a report saying there was approximately 169,000 new alone. users in 2013 589,000 people in the u.s.
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headed opioid disorder. this is a huge thing. these things destroy lives, not just overdose deaths. people are not able to function and work anymore. families are destroyed. people destroy their whole careers, young people destroy their ability to have a financially secure future, they for thesemes addictions and uses. noted 120ministrator people die a day of heroin overdose in the united states. law enforcement plays a key role and must intensify its efforts to reduce the availability of heroine, fentanyl and other illegal opioids. loretta lynch: that is an important role and an important
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goal of ours. law enforcement must continue to have the tools and needs to attack criminal groups who facilitate drug addiction. you agree with that? loretta lynch: this committal groups are a major target of ours here and overseas. with a number of new heroine 160,000ery year, over must sadly, over 80% of those are prior prescription drug abusers. we also continue our efforts from an enforcement perspective and intervention perspective. >> are you aware of the fact that you are owning second of office -- own executive office at the end of 2015 found that the six-month average of drug prosecutions by the u.s. department of justice was down 21% compared to five years ago?
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the six-month average was nearly 32% lower at the end of 2015 then five years ago -- than five years ago? loretta lynch: the number does not surprise me. we have moved through a process of focusing less on the low level individual offenders toward targeting the trafficker networks that you have noted a really the appropriate focus of ours. heard that argument. that we are always focusing on hire people, that's why the numbers are down for over 25 years. i do not believe that. hasrney general holder banned the equitable sharing of drug proceeds with local law committee generating the-- degenerating cooperation needed.
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now, we have to have more. the prison population is declining at a rapid rate of 5000 down last year. the budget for prisons is being reduced as a result of a substantial decline in population. at the same time that drug use is surging and deaths are occurring. for your leadership and i enjoy working with you. hadounds to me like we've senator graham and then blumenthal and then franken. at noon, we were supposed to have a vote. i would like to go there now and vote and come back here because i would like to have seven more minutes with the attorney general.
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you will be the last one to turn the lights out. that is a way we will planet, then. is that ok with you? -- plan it, then. >> i was encouraged by your comment that you believe bipartisan sentencing reform may soon be able to move forward. i'm pleased also that the comprehensive addiction recovery act which is a bipartisan effort to confront the real challenge that heroine and opioid addiction present to america has also moved forward. it is possible for this committee to make bipartisan progress. although rare, it is possible. i was also encouraged by your comments in response to questions from senator hatch about the act that we hope will move forward soon. let me start by thanking you for difficulto to tackle issues facing our country from drug addiction to counterterrorism to healing the relationship between law
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enforcement and the communities they serve. let me start with a couple of critical issues that relate to support for state and local law enforcement. gun violence has been a significant problem for my hometown in delaware. the violencee of reduction network has had a tremendous impact so far. the second round of city partnerships come on hopeful the department intends to vote to continue to support it and extend it. there are some likelihood that the annual conference will be held in wilmington. i'm interested in hearing what sort of improvements you are seeing implement of this year and how you see the program in the future. loretta lynch: i think you and on behalf of the men and women of the department of justice, i thank you for your comments about their service and
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i greatly appreciate your recognition of them. i'm proud to represent them every day. the violence reduction network is an important tool. we have found it to be one of the ways in which we have been able to bring focused law enforcement resources at a cost effective way to jurisdictions that have been struggling with historically high crime rates. wilmington, delaware has been one of our success stories. we had asked for more money in the budget for fy 2017. $5 million is not a lock compared to other things that we ask for. the benefits will be great. 12currently already have cities and we are planning on bringing five more cities on board. as you know, from your experience, it requires a certain level of crime that we don't want every city to aspire to. the leve lessons will be very useful to other jurisdictions. one thing we will be doing this vrnmer is to convene 20 non-
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to share the ideas and best practices that we have been able to gleam from working with wilmington.e be anly did we find it to program that we hope is helpful at the local level, we feel there are so many efforts anchored by our state and local partners, it will be a program that will provide leadership and guidance for other jurisdictions struggling with the same issues. >> thank you. i intend to continue to support the brn appropriation process as n appropriation process as well. the justice reinvestment initiative -- delaware early.pated
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our general assembly made a number of changes to our criminal justice system. we've seen real positive impacts as a result. i'd be interested in hearing how you see the future of the initiative. act,ictims of child abuse something senator sessions and i reauthorizedt all three of these are programs that provide real meaningful assistance for local and helpcement strengthen the criminal justice reform movement. can you briefly comment on how these programs fit into your overall objective to improve law enforcement in the country? loretta lynch: thank you for the chance to talk about them and i thank you for raising these three programs together because what they really highlight is the criminal justice reform will have an anchor that comes from this committee and this body in
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the form of statutory changes but it really also is going to be managed by how we interact localpport our state and partners, for example, bulletproof vest initiatives, as we support officer safety, officer health and those important issues and also how we deal with the victims of child abuse. the justice reinvestment act is something that is also extremely important to us because those funds are used to support changes within local laws and where states have seen a significant drop in crime. it is a long-range view of the entire system. these programs in particular focus on three specific elements of it, but show how everything comes together, as it were. in a way to support a holistic review of the camilla justice criminal justice
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system and by supporting victims and local jurisdictions in their efforts and supporting local law enforcement, we will have safer communities. >> we have a lot of work to do sogether in healing the rift between communities and law enforcement. in the shelby county decision, the supreme court significantly akened the voting rights act. 42 of us are trying to advance the voting rights advancement act. senator murkowski is a sponsor, along with senator leahy and a number of us. might that make in terms of the voting rights enforcement? loretta lynch: thank you for your leadership in this area. i think this committee as it takes up the support in the matter. consideration of this act and the department has been working on this.
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it would help restore an important part of the department 's arsenal in protecting the voting rights of all americans. it is vital for us to look at this in a way that protects the rights of everyone to vote. all those individuals are of concern to us and we thank you for your efforts in looking for a way to provide legislative support to those efforts and look forward to working with you and this committee as it considers the matter. >> the right to vote has been described as the most right to democracy. thank you for your service and leadership as attorney general. >> welcome to the committee. thank you for the job you do for our country. have you ever discussed the clinton e-mail investigation with president obama or anyone at the white house?
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loretta lynch: no, sir. i have not. happeningssipate that -- do you anticipate that happening? loretta lynch: i do not. >> when senator ernest talks about assuring the american -- do this is no big deal you know where he gets that information from? it is my hope that when it comes to ongoing investigations that we all would stay silent. neither i nor anyone from the department has reaped mr. ernest s briefed -- has briefed mr. ernest. >> he is operating on his own, i take it? loretta lynch: i'm not aware of the source of his information. >> have you seen more threats to the homeland, more than today in the past? loretta lynch: certainly i think
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those threats have increased. yes, sir. >> sequestration, if we go back to the sequestration next year, --t advantage loretta lynch: sequestration would cause significant harm to the department's ability to protect the people in areas of national security and other law enforcement functions. you will have less capability to deal with the growing cyber threats? loretta lynch: that is correct. >> thank you. loretta lynch: when it comes to the problem with apple in san bernardino, would you support requiring apple and other technology companies to create technological backdoors made available to the government in terrorism cases? loretta lynch: certainly we would review whatever was proposed and work with this committee or others to talk
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about the issues and make sure that whatever was crafted would cover the range of issues that -- as we've noted, every platform is different, every issue is different. we have been trying to deal with the situation with our discussions with the tech companies. >> would you be willing to draft provide to the committee your ideas of what legislation should look like to a compass the goals -- accomplish the goals? loretta lynch: we are happy to work with you and others on the committee as you consider proposals. >> if china went to apple and said we want a backdoor key to all iphones in china, what would your response be? loretta lynch: the company would have a strong response there. >> would you support apple's request to say no to china? loretta lynch: we are not asking
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for a backdoor here. that thems to be judicial decision is requiring --le to create a logical create a system that would be able to get into the phones. that is not true. loretta lynch: what we are asking people to do is effectuate a system that would remove the password blocker. the password blocker destroys information -- we would have to find our own way into the phone. the password blocker destroys the information on the device if you guess the password incorrectly 10 times. would you support the chinese government's request to do the same thing? loretta lynch: i don't think i would be pining on the chinese government ha's request.
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>> are we setting a precedent for russia and china and other countries? it creates a: false equivalency with our legal systems.nd moral >> we are the good guys and they are the bad guys. loretta lynch: we have a system of laws that have worked for a number of years. >> i agree. loretta lynch: with corporate america to allow them to provide information to us through a variety of ways and systems and devices and protect privacy at the same time that have not led to the parade of horribleness described when this particular changes are made. >> if there are other companies that create encryption -- you are not limited to apple iphones. loretta lynch: the terrorists use any device they can. >> if you require apple to unlock that phone, that does not
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deny terrorists the ability to communicate privately, does it? loretta lynch: we have certainly seen terrorists using a variety of encrypted platforms. doestting the information not protect from terrorists using encrypted devices. apple'shink argument that if you require us to do this, it will hurt their market share? it will put them at a disadvantage? loretta lynch: i have not seen their marketing analysis. loretta lynch: if some company in switzerland says you can buy our phones, you don't have to worry about any american government or any other government being able to break the encryption. loretta lynch: it would depend on how people view that and how
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it would compare to apple's devices. other countries could follow the precedent. we have to balance the idea that the terrorists can use encryption outside of apple with the idea that we may be hurting american companies competing globally. are those the four things we're looking at? loretta lynch: the issue is about a criminal investigation into a criminal act and the need to obtain evidence. >> i thought it was that simple and i was with you until i started getting briefed by people in the intel community and i am a person who has been moved by the arguments of the precedent we set and the damage we may do to our own national security so i have moved to any member of the committee wh

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